Posts filed under "home education"

A MUST Read for Homeschooling Parents: Teaching from Rest

This is the second time in a week that I've broken my sabbatical because I just needed a bigger audience to share with. I think it's fair to say that I can no longer legitimately claim to be on break. But I had to come back for Lena (thank you all so much for your support!)... and I needed to come back to share something else important with you...

Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler's Guide to Unshakeable Peace

If you homeschool, then this may very well be an answer to one of your prayers. If you don't homeschool, I still recommend it if you have children. Sarah from Amongst Lovely Things has just launched this new book and you must read it (IMHO) before you do any academic planning for next year.
Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler's Guide to Unshakable Peace

This is not the typical must-hype-this-because-she's-my-blogger-friend kind of mommy blog review. I like Sarah and would probably support whatever she wrote, but this book...

THIS book has the potential to save your homeschool.

That's a strong statement but I stand by it. Aside from faith and family, this is my passion, dear readers. I'm absolutely convinced that many of us are just doing the whole thing wrong and making ourselves insane and depressed for no good reason. We are allowing joy to seep out of gaping, confusing holes. Seriously, I lay awake at night writing mental books about this stuff. Sarah's book is one of those I wish I would have written... but I'm glad that I didn't because she nailed it.

Get the ebook. Get the companion that goes with the ebook. And take the time to linger over the words. If you skim, go back again and own the words. Study them. Above all, study yourself and your home. Increase your awareness of your strengths and limitations and beg God to transform you and your family into what He wants you to be.

I can't remember if I told Sarah this but... I felt this book coming. She says it was something of a surprise to her but I could just feel it bubbling up in her writing. She was like a woman who is showing all the signs of a first pregnancy and all the people know what's going on except her... Fruitful and life-giving and glowing! When she announced the book, I was excited but not at all surprised and I had quite a difficult time waiting for launch day. When she sent me an advance copy, I could have kissed my inbox I was so giddy.

I realize I sound a little excited. Please don't misunderstand it as hyperbolic sales pitch.  I mean it or I wouldn't write it. I see the struggles in the homeschool world and I know those struggles intimately. We need renewal. We need to examine what we are doing and dig deeper than we ever have as a community in pursuit of holiness and beauty and truth.

What I want you to understand about this book is that the ideas Sarah shares are fundamental to the success of home education in this culture. We can no longer do "school at home" in any old way and get away with it... because checking off boxes does not raise children and transform hearts. Homeschooling only brings true success insofar as those checked boxes translate into sanctified, joy-filled people. It's not primarily about academics and how many kids we can get into Harvard... it's about personhood and eternal life.

Teaching from Rest is a must for new homeschoolers because it nails the fundamentals that must be in place to keep the home a place of joy. The storms do always come and our homes will be buffeted. A rock solid foundation is priceless.

It is also a must for homeschooling veterans because it will bring us back to first principals. We never should have left them, you know, but life has a way of wearing us down, doesn't it?

And for those of you who think you can't homeschool because you are not good at fill-in-the-blank. Read the book. You might be surprised to find that you do have what it takes.

It's time to run toward joy and peace. It is possible. There is no need to stay in a place of panic, fear, or anxiety. It doesn't take Sarah long to help you rediscover your dream.

(If you want a purchase tip... buy the PDF version from Sarah's blog instead of the Kindle version on Amazon. Then email the PDF to your Kindle. The format of the PDF is so lovely you won't want to miss it. :)

I've been taking time every day this past week to walk away from the beautiful chaos in my home to read and journal with Teaching from Rest. I go outside and face my little blue lawn chair towards the woods and I think and write and pray for about 15-20 minutes. And it's been a really, really great week.

This has been a "baby year". A beautiful and good year for sure, but many of you homeschooling mamas know how hard a baby year is even in the midst of all that goodness. To have an exceptionally great week, in spite of sick children, a nasty head cold, a flooded basement, and the regular trials of life, is a pretty wonderful thing. Thanks, Sarah.

Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler's Guide to Unshakable Peace

Disclosure: This post has affiliate links. But even if it didn't, I wouldn't change a thing I wrote.

Posted on May 25, 2014 and filed under "Teaching from Rest", "home education".

First Day...

First day of homeschooling for 2013. Or... first official day since I'm not entirely sure when we stop or start learning or if we do at all. It's our day of refocusing and renewing and introducing new material. If that is the First Day, then there you have it.

I only have one picture to share. We are a little scattered and not completely photo ready. Someone is in her pajamas (not me) and another needs a good hair brushing and another ran off to the garage to do some building with a new box of scrap wood. 

We're starting slowly and imperfectly. If we waited to start officially learning until mama had her stuff together, we'd never begin, eh? So we've begun in spite of some things and it seems to be going just fine. It's a new baby year. And I think sometimes new babies have a lot to teach us about what this should all be about and how to handle our limited time...

Slowly. Intentionally. Selectively. Reverently. 

We're introducing Connecting With History this year and I would like to kiss the people who put it together. It is lovely and fits nicely with the way we homeschool.

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of our homeschool. Please continue to bless our adventures and keep us focused on the ultimate goal... YOU. 

Posted on September 9, 2013 and filed under "home education", "homeschooling".

Dear Homeschool Mamas... Stop Freaking Out

I'm a complete mama blog addict. I also love the way social media connects us all. It is just so cool that you all let me into your brains and homes to look around. My world feels much more normal when I have the chance to look at yours. Not that you're all crazy or anything... I simply mean that sometimes I feel like we're crazy here and you've convinced me that either we're all normal or all crazy together.

Anyway, the point of this post is to give some of you a little homeschooling pep talk because, as I poke around,  I'm seeing a LOT of this...

"Well, here we go! I've got 8 hours a day of 17 subjects planned for my two-year old. Our first day was so tiring and I'm afraid I just can't do this for long. How am I going to teach him calculus and woodcarving while still making sure he has adequate socialization?"


"Our first week with our 5-year old went great! She's going to be ready for Harvard in no time. But I'm concerned because I have 12 more children under the age of 4 and I never get any sleep or have time to brush my teeth. I'm not sure homeschooling is for us."

Now... The official pep talk (with some serious straight talk):

You are going about this the wrong way. Stop it. If you continue this way, you will burn out before next week and convince yourself you are a failure. If your kids are under the age of 6, they really don't need a huge formal curriculum. Get your sleep. Let them play. Hug them. Read to them. Pray with them. Teach them to read well. Get some more sleep. Everything will be fine.

If they are ready for more formal lessons, homeschooling does not have to look like institutional schooling. In fact, it shouldn't look like it. It's not it. You will also never be a perfect teacher. Let it go. It's not about you anyway. Let's get our egos out of the way and let the children grow and learn.

If the super formalized homeschool curriculum providers are giving you anxiety attacks, stop using them. Homeschooling goes a lot better when the system matches the mother's personality. (Full disclosure: If I used a super-structured program like Seton, I'd be on meds within a month and my kids would be in school.) Know yourself. Know your kids.

Why are you homeschooling? Figure it out and write it down. Read a few more good homeschooling books.  And remember that the institutional school system was not designed specifically for your children but for masses of children all together at the same time. You don't have to have a blackboard. You don't have to have desks. You don't need cutesy charts for your walls. Your kids won't become stupid if they miss a week or three of math. And you don't need to know everything in order for your kids to learn. I am living proof.

So there it is. Stop freaking out. It's only August.  You're giving me anxiety attacks and we haven't even started school yet here.

Stop acting like your kids' future happiness rests on whether you had an easy day of it or not. Stop buying into the madness that education is mostly about the teacher's abilities. It is impossible to teach what a student will not learn. A home educating mother's job is not about stuffing knowledge into someone else's brain (impossible, by the way), it is really about creating an environment that helps a student say YES to learning. There is no checklist in the world that can accomplish that.

Stop expecting good things to come easy. Parents don't get a break from the hard stuff until heaven. God gives consolations and "easy" breaks according to His pleasure. Aside from those times (which we have no control over), we should expect to work hard, giving thanks and praise, awash in graces, and carrying our crosses.

When you said yes to homeschooling, you said yes to parenting full time. Expecting the majority of the time spent homeschooling to be smooth and easy is like expecting a money tree to grow in the yard when the bills pile up. Ain't happenin'.

So to those of you who have had a bear of a first week and want to know what you are doing wrong, I'll tell you: Nothing. Because sacrificial love and parenting are just plain hard. Is it worth it? If I didn't think so, I wouldn't bother with this post. I'd just let you wallow in your misery until you quit. But it IS worth it. And my final advice to you is....

Acknowledge the bitterness of the hard stuff, say a prayer, and press on. Joy will catch up with you shortly.

Some of my favorite homeschooling books are listed HERE.

Posted on August 30, 2013 and filed under "home education".